Summer Camp 2010 Chillicothe, IL: Friday

Article and Photos By Greg Molitor

Three Sisters Park – Chillicothe, Illinois

Friday, May 28th, 2010

As the morning sun shone down on my warming tent, it was time to start another day of musical bliss. It was bittersweet to have to leave my friends almost immediately after waking, but I had to remain committed to my coverage of the festival. After I quickly gathered my gear and said my hellos, I was on my way to my press meeting at the Church.

After my 10:30 A.M. press meeting, I did a bit of walking to check out the overall vibe of the festival. During my walk, I saw Brendan Bayliss and Ryan Stasik played a game of Cornhole with some fans. Apparently, there was a Cornhole tournament for charity next to the USTORM tent. USTORM is fantastic non-profit organization that does great work in the Chicago community and beyond. I arrived just in time to see Team Bayliss/Stasik triumph over their opponents five minutes later. After they won, both Bayliss and Stasik took the time to meet with fans for greeting and pictures.


When I wasn’t photographing and reviewing music at Summer Camp, I took the chance to reflect on the beauty that surrounded me. Each direction I turned, there was a smiling face to be seen or uncontainable laughter to be heard. This is what makes the festival experience so special to me. Everyone makes the weekend what it is and plays an integral role in the collective vibe, but individuality is cherished and explored to the highest degree. Each festival attendee is allowed to live how he or she pleases; it is a characteristic that many of us wish would apply to our everyday lives. This amount of freedom can be found in few places these days, so I try to appreciate every moment.


Friday was full of interesting and diverse music, and here are some of the shows I covered…


The mass movement of festival goers to the Moonshine Stage at 12:45 P.M. could only represent one thing…it must be time for some Moe.! It took me a few years to truly appreciate what Moe. does, but since I’ve gotten a clue, Moe. has become one of my favorite groups to see play music. The band arrived to the stage looking sharp as ever, wearing suits to commemorate their 20 years of making music together. Moe. immediately set the crowd into a frenzy with the first notes of “Rebubula”. The monster jam led into a relaxed day set that featured many of the bands more reflective tunes. It was obvious the band was holding back a bit, but since the band had five more sets to play throughout the weekend, it was understandable the band had to save some of their bigger jam vehicles for their night sets. As the set ended with another fan favorite, “Mexico”, one could tell the band was again having fun onstage together.


Papadosio

The Athens, Ohio, based group Papadosio played to one of the largest campfire stage crowds of the weekend. For those who aren’t familiar, Papadosio plays a texture-based, organic brand of jamtronica that has brought them a great deal of success within the past year. The band’s popularity has skyrocketed after a recent opening slot for Lotus and headlining sets at smaller festivals. Papadosio isn’t my cup-of-tea per se, but I do appreciate their developing sounds. I can’t hate on any band that continues to work hard and improve, and that’s exactly what Papadosio has been doing. Beyond the music, the members of Papadosio are very friendly and humble, a trait that should never be overlooked.


Sound Tribe Sector 9

As I made my way to the Sunshine Stage, I was blown away by how many people were already at the Sound Tribe Sector 9 show. STS9, who was crushing a version of “Instantly” as I arrived to the stage, was formerly one of my favorites but hasn’t impressed me as of late. The band played an old-school set which was more enjoyable than I expected. However, I still couldn’t completely get down with the set.
For me, there is a barrier created when a band uses laptops heavily in their sound that I can’t get past. I wish I could get into what STS9 is putting out these days, but since there is so much live music I have the option to see, I always will opt for a group that is creating organic music rather than one who uses sequenced series of notes. Speaking of barriers, STS9 was the only show that I was not allowed into the photo pit to take shots. I apologize for having no pictures of their set, but it was STS9’s choice, not mine.


Yonder Mountain String Band

From STS9, I journeyed back to the Moonshine stage to catch a bit of Yonder Mountain String Band. Front man Jeff Austin is always a treat to see perform. His stage antics and energy are invigorating and inspiring, and his playing is solid as well. Although I’m not very familiar with their tunes, it was obvious the crowd was. The show quickly became a sing-a-long led by Austin, and after seeing the smiling faces in the crowd, one could tell how much this band means to their fans. That is what musical performance is about, and after seeing this set, I look forward to the next time Yonder Mountain String Band comes to my neck of the woods.


Bassnectar

Bassnectar has become extremely popular over the past few years, so I made my way to the Starshine Stage to watch a few moments of his performance. The crowd at Bassnectar was by far the most energetic of the weekend, but was also the rudest. No less than three males tried to fight me on my way to the photo pit as they believed I was trying to take their ‘spot’. It was extremely disheartening to see such aggressiveness at a music festival, but once I got into the photo pit, the push towards the stage became worthwhile.


With a name such as Bassnectar, DJ Lorin Ashton’s music was exactly like it sounds. The brain-candy tones he was spinning had the crowd crunching harder than I had ever seen in my life. The set was fun for a few minutes but became repetitive fast. Fortunately, my travels away from the stage contained no physical threats, an unnecessary relief. As I got to the edge of the crowd, I turned to get one last look at the crowd. Although I ran into a few assholes along the way, I can honestly say the crowd was the most colorful and intense I had ever witnessed in my life. Seemingly everyone in the crowd wore some sort of LED light or glow stick, and it was an amazing sight to see.


Gov't Mule

After Bassnectar, I hurried to back to the Moonshine Stage to see Government Mule play a few tunes. The highlight of the set was their cover of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” featuring Chuck Garvey of Moe. I cannot stress enough how much of a beast Warren Haynes is. His performances always contain a raw emotion that is undeniable, and with this particular show being no different, I can’t imagine anyone in attendance not feeling the soul he was pouring out. He certainly was playing at my heartstrings, and I wish I could have stuck around to watch the end of his set. I had to keep moving though…no rest for the wicked.


Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee was Summer Camp’s Friday night headliner, a spot they have carried the past few years. I have seen Umphrey’s more than any other band as they have earned my undying respect through the years. They were the only band with two sets on Friday and did not disappoint their countless number of fans. Highlights from the first set included a relaxed version of “Turn and Dub”, a reggae remixed version of “Turn and Run”, and their set closer, a cover of Phoenix’s “Liztomania”.


I found Umphrey’s second set to be more enjoyable than their first as the band hardly wasted any time throughout. After the funky set opener, “40’s Theme”, an “Ocean Billy” sandwich was served up to the jam-hungry crowd. The sandwich featured a passionate “In the Kitchen”, the second-ever take on Talking Heads’ “Girlfriend is Better”, and the always well-received Glory. Umphrey’s McGee is quite polarizing to music fans…people either love them or find them aggravating. Whether one migrates to the former or the latter, their musicianship and technical abilities are undeniable.


The New Mastersounds (Late Night)

The New Mastersounds opened the late-night festivities in the barn Friday night. The Leeds, England, funk outfit got it going early and often during their far-too-short 45 minute set, driving home their danceable phrases much to crowds delight. Impressing me throughout their entire set, The New Mastersounds knew how to feed off each other lines with an always professional approach. The members individually never tried to do more than what was necessary as there was a constant feeling of togetherness in their songs. Also, the sonic swells they created were unique to anything else I had previously heard at Summer Camp. If the opportunity to see this group is presented, do yourself a favor and go see them. A dance party is guaranteed.


Moe. (Late Night)

Before Moe.’s late-night set began, Summer Camp promoters Jay and Ian Goldberg shared the stage with the band for a gift exchange as both parties were celebrating 10 years of working together at Summer Camp. A few speeches were given, then Moe. got things cookin’ with a spaced-out version of “George”. The set had a spacious theme throughout, featuring such classics as “Big World” and “Recreational Chemistry”. The real treat came at the end of the set, a mammoth hour-long “Brent Black” > “Interstellar Overdrive” > “Brent Black” that was drenched in some serious psychedelia. At one point during “Overdrive”, Al, Rob, and Chuck were simultaneously bent down and twisting knobs on their guitar pedals. The result was a noisy insanity that successfully freaked the entire crowd out.


This was my favorite late-night set of the weekend and got me pumped for their night sets on Saturday and Sunday. Moe. finished “Brent Black” around 4:00 A.M., but most of the crowd had stuck with the band until the end. Sleep was in the very near future for me as I left the barn and made my trek back to the campsite. Another busy but satisfying day it had been for me, and I could hardly believe the weekend was halfway over already. Time flies when you’re having fun!



www.summercampfestival.com

Comments

  1. awesome review and really loving the moe. barn pictures! good stuff Greg.

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